Apple is reportedly working on a method to use iPhone cameras to detect childhood autism. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is developing ways to use data from iPhone cameras to observe a child’s behaviour that could help in early diagnosis.
As per the report, Apple will use the camera inside the iPhone to study a child’s face and facial behaviours like how often they sway back and forth, as potential markers to detect childhood autism. “Apple has a third brain-related research partnership with Duke University that it hasn’t disclosed. It aims to create an algorithm to help detect childhood autism, according to the documents and people familiar with the work,” the report says.
The report mentions that Apple, as part of its privacy push, may aim to run algorithms for early detection of autism locally on a user’s device. It will not send any data collected to the cloud for processing to protect the user’s privacy. As per the Journal says that the research is still in early stages. It notes that these features may never become a user-end feature, but Apple had invested in multiple heart-focused studies before releasing a host of related features on the Apple Watch.
In related news, Apple is reportedly developing tools and enabling AI-driven software to help track iPhone users’ mental health. Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Apple thinks that the iPhone already has enough hardware capabilities and data on a user’s physical activities including sleep to find out whether or not the user is suffering from depression. Apart from detecting clues of depression, Apple is said to be “working on technology to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline.”